Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Ugly Hat

My daughter picked out some colors for a hat/scarf set she wanted. They are UGLY colors, a fact I mentioned to her many times during our shopping trip. However, she really wanted those colors, so I went ahead with the purchase.

After I started working on the hat, I was again repulsed by the combination and so my daughter and I had a discussion via email that went something like this:

Me: "Working on that hat for you. The colors are hideous. It looks like a
Charlie Brown hat. Wouldn't you rather do this with green/white? It would look sooooo much better... I love ya - even if you have questionable taste in colors!"

Her response: "I like it! lol"

Me: "I'm glad you do, 'cause you'll be the only one!"

Her: "...and I'll wear it in public! :)"

Me: "Just don't mention who made it. Really. :)"

Her: "...nah. I'll just say you made it and that I told you to."

My eyes are bleeding. Oh, the things we do for our children...

Monday, December 28, 2009

Cardio Cables

My friend Stephanie sent me an email today saying: "Get out your knitting needles. An afternoon of knitting can burn more than 500 calories (at a rate of about 100 an hour)". This totally made my day.

I'm seeing a whole new set of workout videos...

"Cardio Cables!"

"Now KNIT, knit, knit...and PURL! Lift those needles, ladies! Now take out your cable needle...cross that yarn!"

I think it could be a best-seller! Think of the workout outfits we could knit up...

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Christmas Goose has Left the Building!

Christmas is over, the presents opened and the treats eaten. I actually finished the one UFO due yesterday but totally mangled the other, so I caught a nice after-Christmas sale to replace the item. Thank goodness for the post-Christmas sales!

My 19-year-old daughter has chosen the most gaudy-awful colors for a hat/scarf set she wants me to make - neon lime-green and black. I feel like we're back in the 80's with these colors! I'll do the project, but only under protest, and will be glad when she matures to like real colors!

Speaking of yarn, my friend Doris has made a New Year's Resolution to not buy yarn for 6 months and just use her stash. I don't think I could last that long, but I think I will try something more on the "use what I've got first before I buy more" line of thought. I've got too much stash (I know - I broke the cardinal knitter's sash rule and said it!), and so of course all the yarn stores around here are having absolutely fabulous sales today. I don't need anything, but it doesn't mean I'm not itching to get out there. We'll see how long I last...

Has anyone made any New Year's Resolutions yet? I'd love to hear them!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve

It's Christmas Eve and I'm sitting here with not one but two UFO's. They're on the needles and ready to be finished. One is due Christmas morning and the other the day after Christmas. Why do I do this to myself?

Other plans today include baking more cookies (for kids and Santa) and maybe going to the mall later this evening to do some people-watching. Everyone scrambling around, frantically trying to find that last minute gift while I sit sipping some hot chocolate, feeling vastly superior because all my stuff was purchased and wrapped long ago. I'll be knitting, too, of course, scrambling around frantically trying to finish my UFO's. :) Oh, the things we set ourselves up for!

All my kids are home this year - I've got my Christmas wish. I hope all of you have a wonderful day tomorrow and wish all of you a very Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Saturday Stuff

My Saturday knitting group met at Linda's house yesterday. Linda is such a gracious hostess and we all had a wonderful time.

We have decided to do the techniques afghan and I've volunteered to do a cable pattern for one of the first patches. This means I will need to write a pattern, which is something I've never done before (yikes!). A little nervous about this and excited too. Doris will be doing a square for increases and decreases (making a pattern with the increasing and decreasing) - can't wait to see what she comes up with! (Can't wait to see what I come up with as well!) More on this project as it happens.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Update to the Update

I no longer have any followers on Twitter - so sad. Seems as soon as I started posting Tweets about baking cookies they all disappeared. I think the following I had was a case of mistaken identity - they're another "Jenlikesto..." and it's usually naughty things after that (do a Google search - you'll see what I mean). Anyway, this means I won't have to worry about keeping up Tweets along with posts. :) More time for knitting!!!

Twitter Update

Went to the Twitter site, remembered how to log on and found out that I have 7 followers, not just the 5 I mentioned before. Not bad for someone who never posted a tweet! Unfortunately, 3 of my "followers" were spam-bots for porn sites. They've now been blocked. Not sure who the others are, but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt.

I've sent a couple of Tweets and have added a link to this bog for Twitter. I don't know if I have enough time to do Tweeting on top of work, family, friends, knitting, and blogging, but we'll see. If nothing else I'll get some good porn sites!

Next up on Twitter: figuring out how to do mobile Tweets. Roll the music cue...


I opened my email today and found out that 5 people are now following me on Twitter. Oh, crap! I had forgotten I started that. Now I have to go figure out how to send Tweets. Ever feel like you are back in school with a test in front of you that you didn't study for? Uh- huh, me too!

Some bad news - my cat wasn't selected to represent on the new yarn line. She's devastated, as any typical Diva should be. I told her she could do better and to wait for the movie offers, so now she's out sunning herself by the pool. If you run into her, please ask her for her autograph - it's make her feel so much better. :)

Off to go figure out this Tweeting stuff....

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Top Cat Model

I just entered one of my cats into a contest to see if I can get a yarn named after her. The cat's name: Little Miss Fuzzy-Butt. I just couldn't resist. My childish sense of humor won over. Come on - wouldn't that be a funny name for a yarn?

Yarn Market ( is holding a contest to name a new line of yarns that will be based on the colors of cats. These will 100% hand-dyed wool, and the winner of the contest gets a yarn named after their cat and a free skein of the there-mentioned yarn with a picture of their cat on the label. Too much fun, and way too much of a temptation for me. To see the information on the contest, please go to:

I sent an email off to the contest and got a reply from Deborah Knight the next day. I have to admit that I didn't expect a response at all, let alone that quickly, so I was impressed. I can't wait to see the results of the contest - even if my cat doesn't make it all the way to the top!

Little Miss Fuzzy-Butt says "Vote for Me!" (Not really - she just says "Meow", which translates to "Feed Me!")

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Addding to the List

My goal this weekend was to finish the last of my Christmas projects. I did not do that. Instead, I have added to my list of projects. How did this happen? I got a new book - "Norwegian Handknits" - and I just have to make some mittens now!

This is a cute little book that not only has patterns but also has history and cultural background on Norwegian knitting as well. I like that in a book.

Too often we get caught up in patterns and overlook the how's and why's a particular style was developed. Most of the time it really doesn't matter - I just dig history. Other times it can make a big difference in how you knit up a garment, using one technique over another.

One of the things I learned so far from this book is that sweaters were considered underwear there. UNDERWEAR!!! Can you imagine? They'd wear a vest over the sweater and a coat on top of that. (Probably because it was butt-ugly cold and they had no central heat - just a dinky little fire going in a corner somewhere. Brrr! They should have moved to Hawaii.)

Remember kids, learning is cool. (Or warm, if you learn how to knit...)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Baby, It's Cold Outside!

It's COLD here. Really, really cold. Record cold. We are still seeing the remains of Monday's snowfall. This is CALIFORNIA!!! It's not supposed to get this cold, let alone SNOW.

I live in California for a variety of reasons, one of which is it doesn't snow here. EVER. That ideology was put to rest this past Monday with unprecedented snowfall in the region. Stockton and Lodi got hit with the white stuff, too. Insane...

I hate snow. I hate walking in it, driving in it, shoveling it, or even just looking at it at all. It's cold and wet and makes my behind numb when I land in it after slipping in it. It should be against the law.

I don't even own any decent winter coats. I just grab a fleece jacket or a nice colorful cardigan when I go outside. Why? BECAUSE IT DOESN'T GET THAT COLD HERE.


Until Monday, anyway. :(

On the bright side, at least I can knit...if my fingers stop shaking long enough!


Saturday, December 5, 2009

Happy Birthday Linda!

Had a wonderful time today helping to celebrate a friend's birthday. I love getting a gift for a fellow knitter - they would rather get a handmade item than any store-bought thing because they know the thought and effort that goes into those items.

Lots of good food and conversation today as well. Happy Birthday, Linda!

Holiday Pressure

Holiday knitting starting to get done (part A, B and C get done only if A is pressure or anything...) I'm feeling the pressure...

I'm really trying to take the Holiday pressure off myself this year. We've all been sick, the house is not clean - let alone decorated - and I am way behind in my Christmas baking (as in I've bought the ingredients but haven't even taken anything out of the bags yet - they're still sitting on the counter).

Why do we do this? Do we take a perverse delight in tormenting ourselves? We dangle impossible goals in front of us like a carrot on a stick - and just guess who the donkey is. :)

Christmas to me is a time to share with friends and family. Of course I want things to be special, but I would rather spend time with my loved ones than running ragged trying to get everything perfect. Can I do it? The jury's still out on this one, folks...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

My New Cardigan

Well, that shrug I started for myself is done. It turned into more of a cardigan than a shrug, but I like to have a longer garment than what the pattern called for. Here's a picture:

The pattern is from Knitting Pure and Simple, "Summer Open Cardigan, #294. The yarn I used is Encore Colorspun (by Plymouth Yarns). I really like the yarn - it's very soft with subtle color changes and it feels like you're wearing a warm hug.
The pattern is pretty much the same as the other shrug I did - a top-down raglan - and again, well written. Since it called for a worsted-weight yarn rather than a super-bulky, it took a little bit longer to make up than the last shrug, but it still didn't take too long.

I shortened the sleeves to a short-sleeve and lengthened the cardigan to my hip rather than the waist. I did not do any decreasing in the body in order to have more coverage in the front (I like to be able to close a cardigan). The yarn had a very nice subtle striping, which made the garment more interesting to me (I LOVE color and changes in color and/or texture), and the yarn is soooo soft. I used just under 4 skeins of yarn with size 10.5 needles.

The problems I ran into on this is pattern is the front where I picked up stitches for the ribbing - it pulls up on the ends. I do not think blocking will fix this since the yarn is a wool/acrylic blend. Maybe the lack of shaping effected this? I could have also not picked up enough stitches along the bottom edges. Any suggestions from my reader(s) on this?

Happy Thanksgiving!

We're done with dinner and the pumpkin pie has been eaten, and I am reflecting on all the things I am thankful for this year.

I am thankful for the friends and family at the table. Some are not here from last year - either they have passed on or are simply away from home for the first time - and I miss them. I am glad that I got to spend time with them while I could.

I am thankful for a (mostly) clean kitchen. There are plenty of left-overs that we will be able to enjoy over the next few days. Some are not so fortunate. I am thankful for a husband who, after a long search this afternoon, was able to find a place open that served the tacos he so greatly desired for lunch. I am so thankful that he bought lunch for a homeless man there as well.

I am thankful for my family's health and well-being. We may have a little cold occasionally, but there were no sudden trips to an emergency room (as it was 2 weeks ago), either local or 120 miles away. The most exciting part of the day was watching the Macy's parade and commenting on how menacing the Sponge Bob Square Pants float looked (it did - it looked like it was out to get you with it's outstretched arms and maniacal face). We then had the Mythbusters marathon on for the rest of the day.

I am thankful for my friends. Friends who called, emailed or text messaged me to wish me a happy Thanksgiving. I am lucky to have such good friends - thank you!

It was a nice, quiet Thanksgiving. I am thankful for all that I have - I am truely blessed. I hope all of you have had a good Thanksgiving as well!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Yarn Discussions with Hubby

My husband, who knows little to nothing about knitting (and really doesn't care - he only makes an effort because I like it), commented to me today about my newest project. He likes the way the yard changed colors - he thought it "looked right".

Me: "It looks right?"

Him: "Yeah - the stripes are all straight 'n stuff."

Me: "Honey, it's self-striping yarn. It kinda does that on its own, like a 'smart yarn' or something."

Him: "A 'smart yarn'? Oh. Well, it still looks good, anyway. You got the stitches all straight."

Me: "All of them?" (Trying not to laugh.)

Him: "Yup. Ya done good, hon!"

Bless that man. I'm sure that I sound the same when talking to him about his video game:

Me: "Wow! You're doing really well there."

Him: "I just got killed."

Me: "Well, you did really well before you got killed..."

Him: (Trying not to laugh) "Really...?"

Gotta love that! Knit (or video game) on!

Afghan Sampler Knit-a-Long

We were discussing doing a sampler afghan at our knitting group today. I've been thinking about getting int o a knit-a-long for a bit now, and a sampler afghan sounds perfect. Do a whole bunch of techniques we've all been wanting to learn and put all the squares together at the end and have a nice throw to show for your efforts.

Sounds pretty simple, doesn't it? Except one of the ladies there mentioned that the squares should all be the same size and then started to figure out how many squares per throw ("We could either do a 4 foot square or a bigger rectangle..." Then she started doing some math and totally lost me after that...)

I like the idea though. I'd like to brush up on fair isle and entrelac, and others want to do cables, mosaics, knit-one-below, etc. This will be an intermediate to advanced level project (no garter or stockinette squares). Great idea! Except...who's going to organize it? How do we choose the patterns? Oh, dear....anyone have any ideas? More to come later...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Saturday Night

What a weekend! I'm still not thinking quite straight.

Both boys were off on a Scout camping trip at Half-Moon Bay this weekend, but I got a call from one of the Scoutmasters last night right around bed time saying that my youngest was being taken off to the hospital by ambulance. He's fine now, but that call took off a few years of my life.

I got to the hospital in South San Fransisco in record time. The nurse at the ER looked at me kind of funny when she realized how fast I made it there. (Hey, my kid was in the hospital 120 miles from home and I didn't know how bad it was. How fast would you get there?) I did take time to grab my knitting bag on the way out the door. My hubby grabbed his slippers instead of shoes but I remember my knitting - what kind of Mom am I?

His big brother stayed with him the ENTIRE time - what a kid! I am SO proud of big brother for that. Kudos also to the Scoutmasters at the campsite as well as the EMT's.

The whole thing turned out to be a minor reaction from some medication my son's been taking, so we were able to leave fairly quickly. We got back home at 3:00 am and all was well. I'm ready to go back to work now...way too much excitement this weekend for me!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Hat in Reverse

Here's the result of the other Fair Isle hat (using the opposite colors):

I think the pattern showed up a bit better on this one. So, now each of my sons now have a new hat. That was fun!
Currently working on socks. Making up new bed socks for all of my kids. Have 1 pair done and another pair just about there. This last pair has been tempting me...I keep telling myself they are NOT for me, these are for Christmas gifts (and yes, the kids do all like hand made socks - it's the one thing that all of them like). I need to make myself something. (Maybe a new pair of socks?)
Tuesday's class was kind of a bust for me - I was not feeling well and left early. I really wanted to do that class, too. Now, I've just got a cold to show for myself instead of all that lovely knowledge. Sniff, sniff...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

More Hats!

I got a call from my friend Chris last night, saying she had read my last blog entry and could identify with the non-feeling in her hands as she had just finished a multi-color variation of the hat pattern we used in class. This was her third hat since the class. And I thought I was addicted...("Hello, my name is Jen and I'm a knit-a-holic")...I've only done two hats since the class. Those darn work and family commitments that get in the way of knitting!

Both Chris and I have decided we LOVE color work. I'll post pictures of my hats later and if anyone else who went to the class wants I can post theirs, too.

We've got the free Guild class tonight - the class is "Fit and Finish", taught by the all-talented Elizabeth R. This lady has an impressive collection of drop-dead beautiful sweaters she's made, and she seems to have a new one finished every month for the show-and-tell. I'm bringing in my unfinished sweater project to see if I can get some help with the shaping of - you guessed it - the dreaded sleeves. (I still hate sleeves - this may end up as a vest.) More to come. Knit on!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Fair Isle Hat

I've been knitting since 10:00 this morning (it's currently 11:30 pm here) and I don't think I can feel my hands anymore. I have to say, it's been worth it, though. I've had a wonderful time today - first my bi-monthly knitting group and then a class on Fair Isle technique.

What a fun class that was! It was taught by Pat Clark, who came all the way up from Sonora, which is about a 3.5 hour drive. You know she is dedicated to do that commute, but Pat also used to be a 4th grade teacher - I think it was 4th grade, maybe 3rd - so you know she is patient. If you can survive teaching kids in school then you can do anything. Needless to say, she was a fantastic teacher!

My hat is now done and sitting on the head of my youngest son (pictured below) and another is in the works for my older son, using the reverse colors. These colors also happen to be their school colors. Hmmm, wonder how that happened....

Pat was a great teacher and the pattern she wrote for the class was clear and easy to understand. The stranding technique she taught us absolutely made the class for me. I will definitely be using this again - no more twisted yarns! That is exactly why I took the class. I will also look for future classes from her.

My friend Chris was teasing me about being a bit obsessive sometimes when it comes to getting things done with my knitting. I think that as long as you still have movement left in your hands, even if you can't feel them, you should be fine. Right? :)

Friday, November 6, 2009


Last night was Guild meeting. I just love Guild! I got to show off my daughter's shrug (yes, the one that I was supposed to mail off today but did not get around to...hopefully tomorrow...) and see all my knitting friends. There were some fantastic projects at the "show-and-tell", including an AMAZING completed "Debbie Abrahams Mystery Blanket Club 2009" blanket.

I'm lucky to be associated with such talented knitters. There's always someone to show you a new technique, provide help with something you're having difficulty with, or be there to just inspire you with their work. Some of these ladies are real artists and it is a privilege to be around them.

Tomorrow is my knitting group meet up and I also have a Fair Isle class that afternoon. I also have a finishing techniques class that Guild puts on next Tuesday. Ah, it doesn't get any better than this...

Sorry to brag so much, but all these knitting events in such a short time span is simply Knitting Nirvana for me. Hope to see you there!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Hatty Halloween!

Happy Halloween! Or rather, Hatty Halloween. That's what I did while waiting for little trick-or-treaters this year.

I did my first-ever top-down hat, AND I used Judy's Magic Cast-on (killed 2 birds with 1 stone on this)! This is a free pattern from Lyon Yarns (# 70177, "Lace Beanie"). It specified a cotton-blend yarn, but I used some left-over Wool-ease with a size 7 needle. The hat starts with just 6 stitches and grows outwards like this:

Needless to say, I am now a convert for Judy's cast-on. It doesn't show the starting point and there are no "blow holes" left at the top. It's magical! (A "blow hole" is a ring at the top of the hat that is formed when you pull a string through the last remaining stitches. It's ugly, but it does provide ventilation.) You can see a demonstration of this magical cast by clicking on Cat Bordhi - Judy Becker's Magic Cast-On under my Knitting Help links.

I finished the rim of the hat with a little left-over fake fur to add some color interest (and because I had run out of the main color). I did one round of the fake fur before casting-off. I think it turned out OK.

We didn't get too many trick-or-treaters this year, but Mr. Pumpkin Head and I got along just fine. Many Hatty Returns!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

About Last Night...

I pulled an all-nighter last night. No, it wasn't for the shrug I just posted about - I was working on another project. I knew it was late. I was thinking it was around 2:00 but NO.

I looked up and saw 5:00.


As in the morning. Around the time I usually get up.

I haven't pulled an all-nighter in many years. I just got so into my knitting that I lost track of time. So my dear readers, (actually, READER - thanks, Sharon!), while I don't recommend staying up all night on a regular basis, losing track of all time being totally absorbed by knitting was kind of cool. Very Zen.

Knit on.

Progression of the Shrug

I had a dream. It was to complete a beautiful shrug for my 19-year-old daughter, something young and vibrant. Here's the project from start to finish.

This pattern was a top-down shrug using a super-bulky yarn. My friend Laura told me that the top will look like a square from the neck side, and she was right. The picture is not the best, but it shows how the top is squared out and the rest of the garment is worked down from that start:

The increases were in front and back of the sleeves, which I thought was very clever. These were the EASIEST SLEEVES EVER!!!!!!! I may have had problems with sleeves in the past (they usually kick my hind end), but I have ABSOLUTELY no problems here. I'm in love!

The finished product as modeled by my youngest son (the poor kid deserves a metal for being so patient with his crazy Mom):

And I found the cutest button at Babetta's! With this button I tell my daughter that I love her every time she buttons up. (Sappy, isn't it? A mother's prerogative. She can deal.)

I loved doing this project. It was SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO fast & easy. If you haven't made a sweater before it would be a wonderful first sweater project. I've washed the shrug and will send it off to my daughter this week. I hope she likes it!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Outbreak Monkey!

I caught it. I've been sick since last Tuesday. The doctor's office doesn't even want me to come in - how's that for helping the sick? :) Not sure exactly if it was the dreaded H1N1 bug - and the doctor's office is not testing - but as the advise nurse I called said, "If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck..."

Usually, it's one of the kids that brings the illness into the house. This time it was me. I'm the "Outbreak Monkey". I HATE being sick. I'm starting to feel better - I have energy for the first time since Monday - but Hubby & the oldest boy are down with it now. This means a weekend of caring for cranky men, because they get to be such babies when they're sick. Ah, what's a wife and mother to do?

Raglan update: I finished the raglan Tuesday night, but I'm looking at it now and I need to redo the neck (there's some unauthorized holes there), and now that I'm back in my right state of mind again I can fix it. Also need to get a button. I was thinking a big silvery/pewtery with lots of detail on the design. I'll go looking later, when I need a break from the cranky men.

Monday, October 19, 2009

I Love Raglans

Working on a top-down raglan shrug. I love, LOVE this pattern! It's a Bulky Shrug by Knitting Pure and Simple. It's very well written and very easy - I normally don't like easy ("Easy-Schmeasy!"), but in this case I'm having a great time with it.

The pattern calls for super bulky weight yarn, which knits up like magic. It's SOOOOOOO fast! I think if I had the whole day to devote to this I could have finished it in one day. How often can you complete a sweater in a single day??!!! So cool!

I've used this brand of patterns before and I've loved each one. (web site: These guys are fantastic!

If you contact them, be sure to mention my name. They won't have a clue who you're talking about, but I've always wanted to say that! :)

Knit on!

Friday, October 16, 2009

It Didn't Happen

I had the day off today and had planned to get some knitting done. It didn't happen - too many other tasks needed to get done.

I need to get going on Christmas gifts. At least I've planned it out this year - making nice toasty warm socks for the kids and some assorted scarves & hats for the various other recipients. I do not knit for very many people - only my family and those close friends who appreciate my knitting. It's a very small group.

I love this weather. We had a storm last Tuesday that made a big mess - lots of trees down around town - but that's the kind of Wintery weather that makes me want to sit by a cozy fire with a cup of tea or hot chocolate and knit, knit, knit!

Living in California means I don't wear a lot of knitwear, so I try to make things that will be wearable, like socks or something usable like dishcloths. I don't want my knitting to get put in a drawer somewhere and not get used. My knitting gifts are an expression of love and I like to know they are being used and (hopefully) appreciated.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Saturday Morning

Ahhh...Saturday morning. I've fed the animals, started the laundry and am now sitting here relaxing with a cup of tea.

I have major housework planned for today, but right now the boys are off at a Scouting expedition and Hubby is still snoozing, so I have the house to myself. There's no place I need to be or thing I need to be doing right now. It's a rare thing to have this luxury.

Don't get me wrong - there are a hundred tasks for me to do. The carpets are a mess (I will be shampooing them today) and the yard has that scary Halloween neglected look. I have fun things I need to do, too - knitting calls to me and I've been seriously neglecting my books and TV shows. But those can wait. It's quiet here. I can hear the ticking of the wall clock it's so quiet. The windows are open so I can hear the outside world. It's very soothing.

The housework can wait a bit longer - my cup of tea is calling.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Gonna Go Get Some Class

I am an idiot.

Well, maybe not a COMPLETE idiot, but I do a pretty good impersonation of one on a regular basis.

I was in a Guild class last night (for more information on the Sacramento Knitting Guild, please look at the link under 'Favorite Links' for the Sacramento Stockinettes), and I had the most awfullest time. Guild classes are usually a lot of fun and I had been looking forward to this particular class for a while since it was taught by a friend of mine, Dorris.

(I love Dorris. Dorris, for those of you who don't know her, is a wonderful woman who has been knitting all her life. She is retired - I decline to mention her exact age - but is always on the go and trying out new things. She looks like she is in her mid-40's and has the energy of several teenagers. I envy her since I am in my mid-40's and have the energy of a slug.)

My misery was not Dorris' fault. No. The project was a copy of her Grandmother's coin purse, circa 1890. This was a clever design of what looks like the toe of a sock and the cuff. It had a closed loop with a ring to hold the purse closed.

It seemed like a simple design - I mean, if you've ever done a sock you should be able to take care of this EASILY since all the hard parts of a sock are missing. To make things even easier for us, Dorris even wrote several versions of the pattern - bottom up as well as TWO different methods for top down! She provided rings for the top closures. The only thing that would've made things easier for us was if she knitted the purse up for us herself.

My idiot impersonation - and a very fine performance, if I might add - was with the cast-on.

I, like so many knitters, really only use one cast-on for all of my projects. I've occasionally strayed from my beloved cable cast-on but have always returned, feeling guilty about seeing the "other cast-on". I got into a groove with the status quo and stubbornly refuse to try other methods. Who knew that this would turn around to bite me in the butt? Isn't faithfulness supposed to be a good thing?

Alas, my favored cable cast-on failed me for this project. I sat there for most of the class, feeling like the class dunce, just trying to figure out how to start the project. A simple project. My face is still red...

I now have a new resolution to TRY DIFFERENT CAST-ON'S. One size does not fit all. I've added links to knitting help sites - ya gotta love You Tube - and hopefully you can benefit from my lesson in stupidity.

Dorris, thank you for all your patience!!!!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Lambtown 2009

Pictures from Lambtown in Dixon, CA.

My Daughter's Sweater

My daughter did not want to go to college after she finished high school. She said that after 12 long years of school she was sick of it and wanted to travel to exotic locations, so no more school for her. Instead she joined the military, saying that this way she can get some job training and go travel the world on Uncle Sam's dime. She enlisted last December and has been in training ever since. Her exotic locale? Idaho. I find this funny like nobody's business.

Funny or not, it's snowed twice there already, the first time on September 30 and the second time yesterday. My poor California girl! She's SO not used to the cold weather she will be having this winter, so I made her a sweater - hopefully the first of many.

This patter is from "Weekend Knits" and I used Encore yarn (a wool-acrylic blend) for ease of care. The project took me about 6 months, mainly because I knit multiple projects at the same time, and also because I usually rip out projects about 3 or 4 times before I am satisfied with the results.

The sleeves took 5 tries:

  • The first to learn the pattern,
  • The second due to mistake in increasing,
  • The third time I got all the way up lengthwise before realizing I had forgotten the increases altogether,
  • The fourth time I increased too much (I had followed the instructions but they looked like bat wings),
  • The fifth try finally did it.

I hate sleeves.

Other than the sleeves, the pattern worked like a charm. This was my first cable pattern, and I wanted an interesting cable that wasn't too complex for me as a beginner cabler. There's no real shaping, so I could concentrate on the cable pattern and that was easily memorized. My favorite design element are the pockets - the pockets are inside the sweater and not just tacked on as an afterthought.

How It Started

A friend of mine showed me how to knit 3 years ago, shortly after my Mom had a stroke. There were many hours spent in the hospital next to Mom's bed, waiting for a doctor to come in, a test to be done or just for Mom to wake up (stroke victims sleep a lot after the event). It was an extremely stressful time.

I couldn't concentrate on reading, TV, cross-word puzzles or anything, just too worried about Mom to focus on anything. Knitting gave my hands something to do while chatting with Mom or waiting for something - and there was always something I needed to wait for. Knitting helped me to stay sane. It was something I could DO while I felt so incredibly helpless.

After Mom recovered, I enjoyed knitting for letting me feel like an artist. I can create things of beauty and substance. It's fun and I've met some great friends through my hobby. This blog is devoted primarily to knitting (although I reserve the right to post subjects other than knitting), mainly so I don't bore my non-knitting friends to death. It's a knitting thing - non-knitters just wouldn't understand.